FHSU is a state,
tax-assisted, liberal and applied arts university, established and maintained
to serve the people of Kansas. The campus is located in Hays which is in the
western portion of the state and is largely rural. As the economy and
population of the Great Plains, western Kansas, and particularly that of 19 northwestern
Kansas counties, experience challenges, the university and this college have
begun working diligently and collaboratively to develop plans to preserve the
future of small schools and communities in the service area. Kansas census data
from 2008 demonstrates 88.7% white citizenry, and specifically FHSU’s service
area demographics demonstrates 98 percent white citizenry, except for the 14 counties
of southwestern Kansas that has a 27.5 percent Hispanic population.
Additionally, 12% of all Kansas families with school-age children live in
poverty. These FHSU service area demographics create unique challenges.
The education unit fully
accepts and embraces the responsibility to educate candidates about the concept
of diversity and its unique application to the profession of education, in
spite of demographic constraints and the impact they have on diversity within
the college. In recent years, the university and unit have become more
successful in recruiting, admitting, and retaining a diverse student body due in
part to changing demographics in the student population. Online programs have
greatly increased the diversity of our candidates.
FHSU, initially known as the
Hays Normal School, was established June 23, 1902, to satisfy a need to create
advanced educational facilities in the new region to serve a swiftly growing
population of settlers. Prior to the opening of the university, Fort Hays
Military Reservation land was slated to be abandoned by the United States
government; the idea was conceived to transfer the fort to a university for
educational purposes. The Kansas Board of Regents granted the institution the
right to confer liberal arts degrees in 1930. There is a long history of
focus on teacher preparation at FHSU - in 1910, the first four-year bachelor
degree in education was approved.